How Long Should You Store Emergency Food For?

When it comes to emergency preparedness, it's recommended that you save food and water for at least three months. This will help you reduce your food budget, avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store, and save on gas. Having a supply of food for three months or more in your pantry is a great way to ensure that you always have what you need to prepare meals for your family. Ideally, your long-term goal should be to have enough reserves to feed your family for six months.

However, it's best to start with shorter goals, such as enough food for a week, then two weeks and then a month. Food is an essential human need, especially after a disaster when the demand for physical activity can increase caloric needs. The average person needs 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to maintain caloric balance, and more if engaged in strenuous activity. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that households store emergency food that family members are familiar with and that they eat easily.

It's important to take into account special dietary needs and avoid foods that make you thirsty.

Reserving a dedicated emergency food supply

ensures that you don't accidentally use it as part of your normal food supply. Keeping it in a separate location can help make it accessible if the area where the normal food supply is located is damaged.Storing your food supply in a cool (room temperature), dry and dark place will ensure the best shelf life. Freeze-dried foods have a higher initial cost, but extended shelf life can provide long-term savings.

Hot water is used to prepare freeze-dried foods; room temperature water also works, but will take longer to reconstitute. Have additional water on hand to prepare food if you are going to use freeze dried food in your disaster plan.The following are some tips to help you start the process of building an emergency storage for your home:

  • The typical grocery store has less than 72 hours of food on its shelves with minimal stock.
  • Knowing that you have enough food to care for your family when times get tough will give you incredible peace of mind.
  • A food year is an important safety net as a self-sustaining food production cycle is established.
The following is a list of foods that don't spoil quickly, making them good options to store if you want to quarantine now during the coronavirus pandemic, or be prepared for future unknowns:
  • Canned goods
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Grains such as rice and oats
  • Powdered milk
  • Cereal
  • Sterno (canned heat)
No matter what your emergency looks like, you won't have to worry about where you'll receive your next meal. You don't need to live in the heart of a hurricane zone or along an active fault line to take emergency preparedness seriously. The type and quantity of food to be stored is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources and the storage area.If you're stuck inside, you'll be glad you had a can of Sterno on hand, which is essentially “canned heat”, which requires no electricity and can heat small amounts of food in cookware.

Real Simple's emergency food supply list contains foods that not only don't need to be cooked and nutritionally dense, but are also tasty. One approach to long-term food storage is to store basic foods in bulk along with a variety of canned and dry foods.

Karen Borchert
Karen Borchert

Freelance travel fanatic. Infuriatingly humble internet practitioner. Passionate twitter practitioner. Extreme social media nerd. Web trailblazer. Passionate pop culture advocate.